Thursday, July 6, 2017

Nectarine and Bleu Cheese Tart

Just because I'm probably not having the tea party this year doesn't mean I'm not coming up with new tea foods.  This appetizer/side dish/vegetarian main/low-sugar dessert could easily be served at tea.  And it used up some bleu cheese I had sitting in the fridge.  I know, it doesn't look like enough for an entire tart, but bleu cheese is pretty strong.  You do want to taste the other ingredients.

One thing to remember about puff pastry is that it is not sweet.  It is a blank slate, like croissant dough.  It's usually used for desserts, but works just as well in savory dishes.  I don't use it often because it's expensive, but that's the only reason.  It's very user-friendly and doesn't dry out before you're done preparing it like filo does.

Because this is a more savory dish, your fruit doesn't have to be super-ripe soft.  Just the same, it shouldn't be rock hard either.  I put mine in a paper bag for two days to achieve something in between.  The best compromise is to taste a slice and decide if a light toss in sugar or honey is warranted to achieve the level of sweetness you want.  If too ripe and starting to get mushy, a toss in more concentrated lemon juice than I state here will balance it out.

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
4 or 5 nectarines
*1/2 lemon
*1/2 C crumbled bleu cheese
3/4 C chopped pecans
honey or sugar, if needed

1.  While 1 sheet of pastry is thawing on the counter, cut nectarines in half, remove pit, and slice thinly, cutting the slices in half to make semi-circles. I forgot how hard that was, or this recipe would have used plums.  Toss slices into a bowl filled with water and the half of a lemon, after squeezing the juice into the water.  This will slow down the oxidation so you have time to prepare everything before the fruit starts to brown.

2.  Start preheating the oven to 400º.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry until the fold lines disappear and it's all the same thickness.  Transfer to a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

3.  While nectarines are draining in a strainer over the sink, start to build the tart.  Sprinkle bleu cheese over the sheet, leaving about 1/2" clean all around the edges.  Scatter half the chopped pecans the same way.
4.  Taste a slice of nectarine.  If on the bland and crunchy side, put them back in the now-empty bowl and toss with a couple of teaspoons of sugar or honey.  If too sweet, toss in the juice of the other half of the lemon.  Then start to shingle them across the pastry.  Remember that the pastry will puff up wherever it is not weighed down with ingredients.  You can go all the way to the edges if you want, but a little crusty rim looks pretty.

5.  Once the nectarines are arranged the way you want them, scatter the remaining pecans on top.  I tossed a handful of boysenberries on the tart as garnish because they're on pretty much everything I eat right now.  For a more savory note, you could garnish with chopped rosemary or sage.

6.  Bake for 20 minutes, until edges are puffed up and browned.  Cool on a wire rack, then cut with a pizza cutter into desired size of servings.  Serve room temperature within a few hours.  If you must serve them at a later date, a quick trip through the toaster will crisp it up slightly, but it will still look like leftovers.

Makes one tartlet, about 6 to 10 servings

Difficulty rating  :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

I got tired of having to moderate all the spam comments and put back the verification. Sorry if it causes hassles.